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Join us in Orange County

November 7-8, 2018

November 14, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Tulsa Presented by: The Arbor Day Foundation
Alliance for Community Trees Day

Event Information

What does the future hold for Alliance for Community Tree’s network members? For almost 25 years, ACT has paved the way as the leader in community forestry. As ACT enters its 25th year, what is next for non profit tree groups? This year’s premiere one day event will include talks from members who are sharing lessons on how to move into the future, leadership for the next 25 years, and successes in practice and programs. And of course, there will be plenty of time for networking and sharing during lunches and breaks! Join us as we celebrate the future of Alliance for Community Trees!

This meeting offers:

  • Peer-to-peer learning opportunities
  • Networking
  • Educational sessions


date November 14, 2017

  • 7:30–8:30 a.m. Breakfast
  • 8:30–8:45 a.m. Welcome Dana Karcher, Arbor Day Foundation
    View Slides
  • 8:50–9:50 a.m. Opening Session: Panel Discussion

    Planting trees and making communities green (and great!) is what Alliance for Community Trees members do best — and have been doing for almost 25 years. Our opening speakers have been working in communities to plan and fund outstanding projects that make a difference. Hear how their experience applies to what ACT members do every day.

    Phil Lakin, CEO, Tulsa Community Foundation
    View Slides
    James Wagner, Chief of Performance Strategy and Innovation, City of Tulsa
    View Slides
    Phil Lakin
    After earning his MBA from Baylor University, Tulsa Community Foundation’s Board selected Mr. Lakin to be the Foundation’s first chief executive officer in June of 1999. Due to the generosity of countless Tulsans, the asset size of the community foundation since that time has grown from $117,000 to approximately $4 billion. TCF is the second-largest community foundation in the United States.

    Phil stays active in the Tulsa community by serving on the boards of George Kaiser Family Foundation (chairman), Tulsa Community College Foundation (treasurer), and many other charitable foundations. Lakin is a past president of Rotary Club of Tulsa, the 12th largest Rotary club in the world, and in 2011, was elected to serve the City of Tulsa as one of nine city councilors. Phil also serves the mountain climbing community as treasurer of the American Alpine Club and board member of The Juniper Fund.

    James Wagner serves on Mayor Bynum’s team as the chief of performance strategy and innovation. James leads a team that empowers the city to use data to drive toward strategic goals and lower barriers to adopting innovative practices. Their flagship program, TulStat, provides a forum for city leaders to set goals, use data to track progress, and try innovative strategies. Throughout his career in local government, James has led transportation initiatives including the Bus Rapid Transit project planned for Peoria Avenue and the region’s bicycle and pedestrian master plan, commonly known as the GO Plan. He is an alumnus of the Mine Fellowship and serves as a trustee of the Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority. He is a graduate of OSU and Georgia Tech with degrees in Finance, City Planning, and Civil Engineering.
  • 9:50–10:15 a.m. Break
  • 10:15–10:45 a.m. Tree School – Planting the Seeds of Urban Forestry

    Youth education continues to provide important engagement and learning opportunities for students of all ages and creates future environmental stewards who have a focus on trees. Tree School is an education program designed to increase environmental awareness among students as well as provide children with a proactive means to make an impact in their surroundings through tree planting. Hear how Up With Trees partners with Tulsa Public Schools to improve the canopy through this unique program.

    Taylor Melone, Up With Trees | Sue Ann Bell, Director of Maintenance and Plant Operations, Tulsa Public Schools
    View Slides
    Taylor Melone serves as the urban forestry associate at Up With Trees and oversees the volunteer and education programs of the organization — including Tree School. Taylor was instrumental in helping to gather the plot data that was used to create Tulsa's Urban Forest Master Plan. She has used that experience to help inform the process in working with the school district on their master plan.

    Sue Ann Bell serves as the director of maintenance and plant operations for Tulsa Public Schools, overseeing the facilities at more 60 sites. She has been an invaluable partner, serving on the Urban Forest Master Plan Advisory Council and spearheading the development of a urban forest master plan for Tulsa Public Schools.

    Beyond Tree Planting: Creative Ideas for Celebrating Arbor Day

    Ceremonial tree plantings are a tried and true way to celebrate Arbor Day. However, there are many creative ways to bring attention to trees and urban forestry. In this session, TreePhilly and Trees Atlanta will share a fun and engaging ways they’ve celebrated Arbor Day and reached new audiences. Hear how art, beer, symposia, and games all lead to moving beyond traditional tree plantings.

    Erica Smith Fichman, TreePhilly and Dave Simpson, Education Program Coordinator, Trees Atlanta
    View Slides
    Erica Smith Fichman is the TreePhilly program manager at Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. She coordinates urban forestry-based community outreach, including tree giveaways, with the aim of increasing the tree canopy cover to 30 percent in all Philadelphia neighborhoods. She is an ISA Certified Arborist with a master's degree in environmental horticulture from the University of California-Davis and a bachelor's degree in biology from Haverford College. Her favorite tree is ponderosa pine.

    Dave Simpson currently serves as education program coordinator for Trees Atlanta, where he provides leadership of Canopy Conversations and other educational programs for adults focused on ecology and the value of urban trees. Dave holds a master's degree in plant and environmental sciences from Clemson University and has more than nine years of experience working with nonprofits committed to education and environmental issues.
  • 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Approaches to Improve Engagement of City Residents in Tree-Planting Efforts

    Nonprofit organizations are important for increasing the tree canopy in cities. Their efforts work to engage residents. However, there is a disparate number of participants in these efforts in low-income neighborhoods. This presentation discusses results from qualitative research which examined the reasons for resistance to tree planting programs. Learn other methods to engage community members to accept trees in their neighborhoods.

    Dr. Christine Carmichael
    View Slides
    Christine Carmichael completed a Ph.D. in Forestry at Michigan State University in March 2017. Her dissertation research focused on understanding perspectives of city residents and staff of a nonprofit organization on a street tree planting program in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Carmichael's graduate education included a specialization in gender, justice, and environmental change as well as a graduate certificate in community engagement. Her expertise is in improving outcomes for collaborative governance approaches in urban and community forestry.

    ArborWatch: How a Group of Citizen Advocates Protect DC’s 2.5 Million Trees

    Many cities have developed well-thought-out canopy goals, and planting trees is one way to increase the canopy in a city. To further the goal, Casey Trees has developed a unique program that engages citizens in the opportunity to maintain and provide healthy spaces for trees through advocacy. Hear how this replicable program is making a difference in Washington, D.C., and how it can make a difference in your community.

    Kristin Taddei, Casey Trees
    View Slides
    Kristin Taddei is the planning advocate with Casey Trees, where she uses mapping software to analyze the potential tree canopy of Washington, DC, developments and city plans, writes comments and testifies to request better designs for trees in the urban environment, and works with Casey Trees volunteers to strategically advocate for trees in DC. Before Casey Trees, Kristin was employed with The Cadmus Group, where she worked with federal agencies and nonprofits to implement environmental regulations and best practices in the United States and abroad. She has an undergraduate degree in geosciences from Franklin & Marshall College and a master’s degree in sustainable development and conservation biology from the University of Maryland. In her free time, Kristin enjoys cooking, going to concerts, and reading with her book club.
  • 12:00–1:15 p.m. Lunch
  • 1:20–2:15 p.m. 7x7x7: Seven Speakers, Seven Topics, Seven Minutes

    This group of engaged Alliance for Community Trees Members — your peers — each have a story to share. These stories are relevant to the day to day work of ACT members, and explore the challenges and aspirations that are shared among this unique network. Learn a new perspective about what ACT members do. Then we will apply these stories to a discussion that looks to the future of the nonprofit role in urban and community forestry.  This is sure to be a unique opportunity to learn from one another!

    Mark Cassini and Matt Shipley, Community Greening View Slides
    Anna Dooley, Greenscape of Jacksonville View Slides
    Matt Grubusich, Texas Trees Foundation View Slides
    Karen Zumach, Tree Trust View Slides
    Burney Fisher, Indiana University View Slides
    Erik Burke, Eugene Branch of the Friends of Trees View Slides
    Torin Dunnavant, Sacramento Tree Foundation View Slides
    Mark Cassini is the co-founder and co-director of Community Greening, an environmental start-up nonprofit. The organization planted nearly 500 trees, including a TD Green Streets Community Grove, in its first year as a member of the Alliance for Community Trees. Previously, he was the Grants and Annual Fund Manager for Achievement Centers Foundation, responsible for $1 million in grants from family foundations, private grantors, and corporate grantors. He is from Indianapolis, Indiana, and has worked in the nonprofit environment for 15 years including a time in Nairobi, Kenya, at a refugee processing entity funded by the State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration. Mark has an M.A. in International Studies from the University of the Pacific and the Intercultural Communication Institute in Portland, Oregon. He graduated from Indiana University with a B.A., majoring in Cultural Anthropology. He lives in Delray Beach, Florida, with his wife and three children.

    Matt Shipley is a third-generation South Floridan and was surfing by the time he could stand. His father, John Shipley III, was always taking his 3 sons out into nature, especially the beach. Matt was always inspired by nature, which drove him to study environmental issues at the University of San Diego. After receiving his B.A. in Spanish and Environmental Studies, Matt joined the Peace Corps. He served in Paraguay as an environmental educator where he started an environmental group that focused on reforestation. Upon completing his service, Matt went back to California to receive a master’s degree in International Environmental Policy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Matt is currently the co-founder and co-director of Community Greening, an environmental start-up nonprofit. The organization planted nearly 500 trees, including a TD Green Streets Community Grove, in its first year as a member of the Alliance for Community Trees.

    Anna Dooley is the executive director of Greenscape of Jacksonville. Under her 20-year leadership, the organization has excelled with their addition of more than 300,000 trees to the local tree canopy. She is the past president of the Florida Urban Forestry Council. In 2004, she was the recipient of the Jacksonville Environmental Protection Board’s award for Outstanding Individual. In 2007, she received the Trees Florida Award for Outstanding Individual and Mayor’s Award for Environmental Achievement. She is past chair of the Keep Jacksonville Beautiful Commission. She was thrilled to be the 2016 recipient of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Lawrence Enersen Award.

    Matt Grubisich received his Bachelor of Science in Urban Forestry and Forest Management from Iowa State University and has been working in the Urban Forestry field for more than 17 years in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Matt joined the Texas Trees Foundation staff as the director of operations and urban forestry in September 2010 after working as a private consulting arborist/urban forester specializing in assisting communities, developers, landscaping companies and others with urban forestry and planning-related issues. Prior to consulting, he served eight years with the Texas Forest Service as the Regional Urban Forester for Dallas the and surrounding areas. Matt is an ISA Certified Arborist and specializes in GIS mapping, technology transfer, and ecosystem analysis.

    Karen Zumach is the director of community forestry for the Twin Cities-based nonprofit Tree Trust. In her 10 years of working at Tree Trust, she has assisted in the finding of forever homes for more than 25,000 trees throughout Minnesota. Karen is an ISA Certified Arborist and holds degrees in geology and horticulture. She currently serves as vice president of the Minnesota Shade Tree Advisory Committee (the state’s urban forest council) and has become a staunch advocate for the importance of trees in our communities. She was even introduced as the “Crazy Tree Lady” while providing testimony on behalf of trees at a 2017 state finance committee hearing. In her spare time, she loves horti-torturing her 3- and 5-year-old girls by making them repeat the Latin names of trees they see because it’s so darn adorable to hear a 3-year-old try to pronounce Aesculus.

    Dr. Burney Fischer is an adjunct professor at Indiana University, teaching Urban Forest Management and Urban Ecology at IUB SPEA each spring semester. He also leads the Bloomington Urban Forestry Research Group. Previously, Burney served as a senior research fellow at the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop, where he was the former co-director and interim director. He was also a state forester and director of the Indiana Division of Forestry as well as a professor at both Purdue University and University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Burney has received numerous awards and honors, including the 2013 Frederick Law Olmsted Award from the Arbor Day Foundation. He received a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from Purdue University.

    Torin Dunnavant is the director of education and engagement at the Sacramento Tree Foundation. He facilitates the community work of the organization, such as the shade tree distribution program, community-guided urban forestry initiatives, and volunteer programming. Prior to that, he was with TreePeople for eight years. As a volunteer, he serves as the Treasurer of the Los Angeles River State Park Partners. Previously he was on the board of Los Angeles River Expeditions, the Atwater Village Neighborhood Council, and the Neighborhood Council Sustainability Alliance. He studied political communications and rhetoric at San Francisco University. His focus areas include constituent engagement, social marketing, and strategic planning.

    Erik Burke grew up and lives in Eugene Oregon. He has been volunteering locally planting and caring for trees and on ecology research projects since 1986. Erik has directed the Eugene-Springfield chapter of Friends of Trees since 2011. Erik has worked in construction, the timber industry, the nursery industry, and in social science research. He has an MA. in Applied Anthropology from Oregon State, a BA from the University of Oregon, is a certified arborist, certified municipal specialist, and is a licensed Landscape Construction Professional.
  • 2:20–3:00 p.m. What Does the Future Hold? (Group Discussion)
  • 3:00–3:30 p.m. Break
  • 3:30–4:00 p.m. Collaborating to Reforest the Forest City

    Cleveland was once a well-canopied city — much like many other cities throughout the US. Losing canopy results in economic losses, and The Forest City will be no exception. However, a unique program focusing on collaboration and best practices hopes to reverse this trend. Learn how using adaptive management combined with best practices will result in a shift in thinking about the importance of the tree resource.

    Colby Sattler, Western Reserve Land Conservancy
    View Slides
    Colby Sattler is Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s urban forestry and natural resources project manager. He leads urban reforestation efforts throughout Greater Cleveland, fostering a culture of change by working closely with community development, nonprofit, foundational, and other regional assets. His work further includes conducting training workshops on proper tree care and maintenance activities and assisting on natural resources projects including invasive species management, restoration services, native plant installations, and tree inventories. Mr. Sattler is an ISA Certified Arborist and a licensed Commercial Applicator through the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

    The San Francisco Story

    From a ballot measure that was passed in 2016 (overwhelmingly) to a mayor who said “no,” the City and County of San Francisco has been on a roller coaster ride of who will be maintaining the trees in their city. The presenters will share the challenges and opportunities they faced as partners working together to maintain and grow the urban forest in San Francisco.

    Dan Flanagan, Friends of Trees | Carla Short, City of San Francisco
    View Slides
    Dan Flanagan is executive director of Friends of the Urban Forest, a nonprofit organization that helps individuals and neighborhood groups plant and care for street trees and sidewalk gardens throughout San Francisco. He is also the chair of the City of San Francisco's Urban Forestry Council.
  • 4:15–5:00 p.m. The 24:1 Initiative: Reverse Year of Decline Through Innovative Partnerships

    When an urban forest declines, the tendency is to just let it go. But this unique partnership developed a cooperative agreement to help maintain and grow the urban forest among 24 communities. Learn how this partnership has changed the face of urban forestry in North St. Louis County, MO, and how it can be replicated with adaptations.

    Mark Grueber, Missouri Department of Conservation | Doug Seely, Beyond Housing
    View Slides
    Mark Grueber is a community forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation in the St. Louis region. He has worked for the City of St. Louis Forestry Division, a local forestry consulting firm, and Forest ReLeaf of Missouri. Over his more than 30 years in community forestry, he has spoken to numerous groups, been interviewed on the radio, seen frequently on TV, written articles for the Missouri Conservationist magazine and other publications, and been a guest instructor at St. Louis Community College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Missouri’s Forestry program. In addition to enjoying camping, floating and going to hockey games, he loves to talk to anyone who will listen about trees.

    Doug Seely is an ISA Certified Arborist with Beyond Housing. He has worked for St. Charles Community College as well as the City of Creve Coeur and is currently the community forester for 24 communities that make up the Normandy School District in St Louis County. Doug has more than 25 years of experience in landscaping and community forestry. He has also served as president for the Community Tree Council and the Missouri Community Forestry Council.

    Closing Remarks Dana Karcher, Arbor Day Foundation